Things That Matter

Trump Administration Calls For Asylum Seekers To Pay Processing Fees For Paperwork That Have Never Had Fees

President Trump and his administration have introduced a new set of regulations that will surely discourage some asylum seekers from coming to the United States. The new regulations include charging a fee for asylum applications and delaying the approval of work permits. The proposal comes as the Trump administration continues to slow down the surge of Central American migrants trying to cross into the U.S. The changes will surely make it more difficult for asylum seekers to apply and stay in the U.S. as they wait for their case to be heard.

The reality of the situation is many asylum seekers won’t be able to afford these new proposed application fees.

President Trump is giving Attorney General William Barr and acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan 90 days come up with new regulations to speed up the processing of asylum claims. This will include directing officials to begin charging a fee to process asylum and employment authorization applications, which currently do not require payment.

While there are still questions about the amount that applicants might have to pay, it’s unclear how many families, who are fleeing poverty, would be able to afford these fees. While the report says the price would not exceed the cost of processing applications, officials did not provide an estimate for that amount.

For comparison, the application fee for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is $495, the fee for green card holders to file for U.S. citizenship is $725, and the fee to apply for a green card can go as high as $1,225, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Among other regulations, the Trump administration is also making it harder to get work permits for some asylum seekers.

Under current federal laws, an asylum seeker can apply for a work permit five months (150 days) after submitting their asylum application. The Trump administration wants to change that regulation.

Under the new proposal, asylum seekers can be denied work permits if they entered or tried to enter the country illegally. They are also calling on officials to immediately revoke work authorizations when people are denied asylum and deported from the country. If an individual receives a work permit, a new fee will also be included.

The Trump administration though process behind the regulation is that work permits are encouraging asylum seekers to come to the U.S. While some may argue that’s probably true, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not also fleeing violence and persecution in their home countries.

There are also proposed changes to “improve the integrity” of credible fear determinations.

The new report also calls on Homeland Security to “improve the integrity” of credible fear determinations. When migrants first come to the U.S. border and apply for asylum, the first step is often the credible-fear interview. There, they must prove to an asylum officer that they have a credible fear of returning home or face persecution. If they then succeed, migrants can then apply to various types of relief that are available.

President Trump has often ridiculed the asylum system because of this factor, at times calling it a “loophole” that attracts immigrants to the U.S.

The memo is the Trump administration’s latest effort to make it more difficult for migrants to come and stay in the country. This all comes amid a huge spike in border crossings, including a large number of families seeking asylum. According to DHS statistics, in fiscal year 2018, 92,959 asylum claims were made at the southern border, up from 55,584 in the 2017 fiscal year.

Many immigrant advocates are coming down on the new proposed regulations that will only make it harder to those seeking asylum.

The new proposed regulations are designed with fair intentions to deter the flow of incoming migrants. The Trump administration is financially attacking a group of vulnerable people, knowing full well the majority won’t be able to afford a fee.

It’s fair to assume there will be a lawsuit over these proposals and any new immigration policy put forward. Which means these new fees won’t be put in anytime soon. But immigration advocates are angry at these proposed measures and the consequence they will have on those seeking help.

“The idea that we will charge asylum seekers a fee to seek refuge from persecution, torture, or death is offensive and counter to our values,” the American Civil Liberties Union tweeted.

Leonardo Arzuaga, 28, of Cuba, arrived in Mexico last month. He is one of many asylum seekers that would be affected by the new proposal as he is fleeing political persecution. Arzuaga is currently waiting until he can cross the U.S. border and claim asylum.

“I think it’s a bit unjust,” Arzuaga told the AP of the recent proposals. “Because many people do not have the means to arrive, work, produce. For me it’s something that isn’t logical. Because one practically gets here with nothing.”

READ: Government Officials Report That Reuniting Separated Families Will Take Two Years

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10-Year-Old Boy Found Crying Alone Near Border Had Been Deported And Kidnapped With His Mom

Things That Matter

10-Year-Old Boy Found Crying Alone Near Border Had Been Deported And Kidnapped With His Mom

Anyone who has watched this video of a 10-year-old boy asking a Border Patrol officer for help through tears, can admit just how heartbreaking it is. The boy says he was left alone while traveling with a group across the border when they abandoned him.

But now his family is speaking out and sharing the backstory to the emotional video that further highlights just how urgently the crisis at the border needs to be addressed.

Video of a 10-year-old boy wandering near the border quickly went viral for how heartbreaking it was.

A heartbreaking video shared last week by Customs and Border Protection of an unnamed 10-year-old boy found wandering alone in Texas underscored how desperate the situation is on the southern border. The video showed a young Nicaraguan boy found on the side of a dirt road by an off-duty Border Patrol agent after wandering alone for four hours in the desert.

People reports that U.S. Customs and Border Protection released footage of the incident, which happened on April 1 by a Rio Grande border patrol agent. The boy explains to the officer that he woke up and discovered that his group had left him behind. “I came looking because I didn’t know where to go, and they can also rob or kidnap me or something,” he told the officer. 

In a statement to the publication, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the agent “transported the child to a Border Patrol facility where he was fed and medically screened.”

But now we’re getting a better understanding of what led to this heartbreaking video.

Now, the boy’s family have described his plight to the Washington Post. Little 10-year-old Wilton Obregon and his mom crossed the border into Texas last month but were expelled under Title 42, a policy that releases migrants back to Mexico without letting them seek asylum.

Hours after they were sent back, they were kidnapped, according to Wilton’s Miami-based uncle, Misael Obregon. The kidnappers called him and demanded a $10,000 ransom but Misael could only pay $5,000 so the kidnappers only released Wilton. They dumped Wilton back at the border. Obregon said his sister is still in custody of the kidnappers. “Now I’m worried that she’s going to die,” he said.

In fact, the boys mom called Misael Obregon on Friday morning, crying after seeing the video of her son crying at the border.

The family’s plight highlights the need for reforms to Title 42.

During the campaign, President Biden complained about the humanitarian consequences of the Trump administration’s “Remain in Mexico” policy, which forced asylum seekers to wait for the their court hearings in Mexico. Many were forced to wait in dangerous refugee camps along the border that subjected them to human trafficking, violence, and sexual assault.

Under Title 42, though, which began under President Donald Trump and continues under Biden, asylum seekers are again in the same desperate situation. It’s unclear how many of them have been kidnapped.

“The Biden administration is winding down one of the Trump administration’s most notorious policies but at the same time it is expelling other asylum seekers back to the very same dangers, attacks and kidnappings through its continued use of the Trump administration’s Title 42 policy to evade U.S. refugee law,” Eleanor Acer, senior director of refugee protection at Human Rights First, said in a statement.

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Police In Tulum Killed A Refugee By Kneeling On Her Neck And Mexicans Want Justice

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Police In Tulum Killed A Refugee By Kneeling On Her Neck And Mexicans Want Justice

So many of those attempting to reach the United States – or even Mexico in some cases – are already fleeing extreme violence, poverty, and fear. Refugees from Honduras and El Salvador (among other countries) are hoping to find a better life faraway from the corruption and danger that they face in their home countries.

But what happens when those same people fleeing violence in their home countries are met with state-sponsored violence on their journey to a better life? Unfortunately, at least one refugee, 36-year-old Victoria Esperanza Salazar, a mother of two teenage daughters, has lost her life while hoping for a better one.

Four police officers are in custody after the killing of a woman from El Salvador.

Four municipal police officers are in custody and under investigation for murder following the death of a Salvadoran woman who was violently pinned to the ground while she was being arrested in Tulum.

Video footage shows a female officer with her knee on the back of 36-year-old Victoria Esperanza Salazar, a mother of two teenage daughters who was living in Tulum on a humanitarian visa.

In the footage, Victoria, who was apparently arrested for disturbing the peace, can be heard moaning in pain and is seen writhing on the road next to a police vehicle as she was held down for more than 20 seconds. Three male police are also present, one of whom appears to help the female offer restrain Victoria. Footage then shows officers drag her limp body into the back of a police truck.

Many are comparing Victoria’s murder to that of George Floyd.

Many in Mexico are comparing Victoria’s death to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last summer, who also died pinned under an officer’s knee. Video shared on social media shows a police officer leaning on Salazar’s head and neck and she cries out, and then goes limp. Officers then drag her body into the back of a police truck.

Mexican officials have largely condemned the officers’ actions and the Attorney General said that the officers — three men and one woman — will be charged with femicide. The charge of femicide carries a penalty of no less than 40 years in prison. The police actions violated the national law on the use of force, the Attorney General’s Office said. 

Victoria’s death comes as millions of Mexican women demand that the authorities do more to combat gender violence in Mexico, where an average of 11 women are killed every day. Her alleged murder also occurred as Mexican authorities ramp up enforcement against mainly Central American migrants traveling through Mexico to seek asylum in the United States.

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